Iraq Probes Corruption in Military Deal

A member of Iraq's Integrity Committee, Aliya Nassif confirmed on Wednesday that the committee is investigating possible financial corruption in a deal by the previous government's Defense Ministry to buy military equipment from Serbia.

Nassif told AKnews that the Ministry of Defense in the former government had contracted with Serbia to buy arms for the Iraqi army, noting that "the Integrity Commission and the parliamentary Security and Defense Commission held meetings at that time to evaluate the contract and noted the existence of corruption in the contract, but the political forces prevented [action being taken]".

"The integrity commission in the current parliament opened the file again," asserting that "anyone who was involved in the contract is being investigated by the Integrity Commission, the legal advisor to the Minister of Defense, and Director General of the Ministry's programs."

The contract was reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars.

Corruption is a major problem in the country. The corruption index for 2010 issued by Transparency International pointed that Iraq is among the world's most corrupt countries.

The Integrity Committee in the parliament unveiled last month, access to evidence and documents that confirm the existence of financial and administrative corruption cases in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, particularly with regard to contracts to buy military aircraft, stressing that it will soon begin investigating in these files.

The Iraqi parliament approved a deal in January to buy 18 American-made F-16 fighter aircraft (pictured), but decided weeks later to postpone the contract.

(Source: AKnews)

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